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Go With the Flow: 5 Tips for Structuring Your PowerPoint Deck

October 20, 2014 / Blog, PowerPoint, PowerPoint Design, Rick Enrico Blog, Tips & Tricks PowerPoint Design, Powerpoint tips, presentation structure

Even with breathtaking visuals, it will be hard to make sense of your PowerPoint deck if it doesn’t follow a logically sound structure. Think about it: a movie filled with special effects won’t be able to hold its own without a storyline. In the same way, your PowerPoint deck needs to be guided by a structure that will allow your audience to make sense of the message you’re delivering.

These are 5 simple tips for structuring your PowerPoint deck:

Tip #1: Figure out the flow with a storyboard

Always sort out the details of your presentation before working on a PowerPoint deck. Begin by brainstorming your ideas, narrowing them down into an outline, and then arranging them into a complete storyboard. You can’t build a tight and well-structured deck if  you don’t have a proper starting point.

Tip#2: Give your audience an overview at the start of a presentation

After opening with a memorable title slide, show the audience what they can expect from you by providing a brief overview or outline. On a single slide, list down your agenda in short and repeatable phrases. Don’t forget to add related visuals and leave room for white space.

Tip #3: Break down topics into sub-sections

If you’re tackling a complex topic, you can break down your PowerPoint deck and create sub-sections. For example, Apple presentations are often divided into three major sections. To make the discussion even simpler for the audience, each section is further divided into sub-sections.

Tip #4: Utilize the footer

If you’re dealing with several sub-sections in a single PowerPoint deck, help your audience keep track of the flow of your presentation by utilizing the footer. Below each slide, create a marker that will allow people to see where your discussion falls in the overall outline. Let’s say you’re pitching to investors. You’re currently discussing your marketing strategy, which is a subsection of Marketing and Sales. Make sure your audience doesn’t get lost by having something like this on the footer of your slides:


Tip #5: If applicable, use the Assertion-Evidence Framework when building slides

It might sound like a mouthful, but the assertion-evidence framework is pretty easy to follow. Basically, it means that any statement you make in your slide should be supported by evidence that’s based on data. You can make your assertions in the headline of your slide, and use illustrations or diagrams to detail the evidence. Learn more about this simple but effective framework here.

If you want to ensure a successful outcome, you can’t just put together slides haphazardly. You need to carefully arrange your PowerPoint deck following a structure that’s logically sound and easy to follow. With these tips, you can make sure the audience is able to go with the flow.


Featured Image: Roland Tanglao via Flickr